Vagrant Journalism

Published pieces from the past, the present and of the potential future.

Posts Tagged ‘interview’

3 July 09: The Moondoggies – I Don’t Decide Where To Move My Body

Posted by Christina on July 4, 2009

moondoggiesI recently started contributing to L.A. Record, an independent music magazine published in Los Angeles. I’ve started out with a band interview and it’s ended up on their home page! I suppose they switch it up every time they have a new interview, but it’s exciting to see mine up there for now. I interviewed the lead singer and guitarist, Kevin Murphy, for a pretty exciting, up-and-coming band called The Moondoggies out of Seattle. There’s more of the interview but they’ve published the highlights.

L.A. Record: The Moondoggies – I Don’t Decide Where To Move My Body

Moondoggies’ Kevin Murphy—and bandmates Robert Terreberry on bass, Carl Dahlen on drums and Caleb Quick on keys—are hauling their three-part harmonies, finger-picked guitar licks and Rhodes piano south to L.A. from Seattle. It’s an ageless American sound—as casually accidental as it can get. This interview by Christina Nersesian.

You started as kind of a punk band and then you went to Alaska and came back making music with this whole Byrds and Eagles vibe going on—so what happened in Alaska?
Kevin Murphy (guitar/vocals): I moved to Bellingham, which is an hour north of Seattle and I lived there for about a year. It was during a time where our old band the Familiars were dying and I don’t know—we weren’t listening to that kind of music as much. The drummer had hearing problems so he stopped playing the drums and starting playing the banjo. We were just kind of listening to a lot more bluegrass and things like the Band. It was just kinda like—‘I want to get out of this college town and focus on some music on my own.’ It was more about getting myself more disciplined, I suppose. I moved up there because I had nothing else to do. I was interested in Ketchikan because it’s pretty isolated being an island and I had a friend who had a job for me and a place to stay for free. I could save up money and jump on the ferry and ride up there. It seemed like a good opportunity to go see what that place was about.
When you guys started to play the bluegrass-y stuff, were you tapping into anything you heard growing up?
I think things are just coming around full circle. I grew up on the Beatles and Nirvana, definitely. I was discovering a lot of stuff but nothing was very unfamiliar. I just started digging more and more into it. I still like some of the louder stuff that I listened to in high school. I started to really hear a lot of those brilliant, older songs and suddenly you realize you haven’t heard anything and you keep digging. Read the rest of this entry »


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1 October 2007: The Format Brings Desert Heat to Aldrich

Posted by Christina on March 6, 2009

Taken at The Format's performance in UCI's Aldrich Park

Taken at The Format's performance in UCI's Aldrich Park

This was a great assignment because I was able to get an interview with The Format even after the editor insisted he wasn’t able to and they didn’t need one. They got someone else to cover the event but included my interview because otherwise, it would have been a great and viable, not to mention newsworthy piece of information that would be kept from the New University reading populous. Sam Means and Nate Ruess were awesome and generous guys and so the interview was a ton of fun.

New University Newspaper: The Format Brings Desert Heat to Aldrich

The Format Brings Desert Heat to Aldrich
by Christina Nersesian and Cat Ngo
Volume 41, Issue 2 | Oct 01 2007

Made popular by their local Phoenix radio station, KEDJ, The Format has come a long way in a short time.

Achieving album production independence with its own vanity label (appropriately and ironically called the Vanity Label), in less time than it takes most bands to aspire to the same, it released ‘Dog Problems’ after being dropped by Atlantic Records. The independent band is a pioneer in the music industry.

New U: Nettwerk Records posted information about your new album from a blog you wrote with the tentative title ‘Holy Ghosts.’ How’s that coming along?

Nate Ruess: We put in ideas for a few different songs, and I wanted to call the album something. It’s always nice when you write to have a name. ‘Dog Problems’ was a name that we had before we really started writing the record. It helped the songs take shape, and that in itself ended up being very ironic.

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27 October 2006: Interview with Phantom Planet

Posted by Christina on March 2, 2009

pprtdeadPhantom Planet was probably the best band I have ever interviewed so far from and interviewer’s standpoint. I could talk to these guys about anything without feeling self conscious about the caliber of questions I had ready for them. They were so nice about everything, too. They were performing at UCI’s Fall festival, Shocktoberfest, and I finagled my way backstage by doing some crazy networking with their record label representatives and tour manager (who was a total hoot!). While I was able to get all this access on my own, the editor of the section, at the time, refused to let me cover the event and because I didn’t want the interview to go to waste, I let him have it for his coverage story. He used one quote and left the rest to stay in my Documents folder until now. Regardless, I will forever be grateful to these guys for giving me the time of my life.

Interview with Phantom Planet

Alex Greenwald: Vocals
Sam Farrar: Bass
Darren Robinson: Guitar
Jeff Conrad: Drums

UCI Arc Fields, Irvine, CA
27 Oct 06

Christina: How did you guys get involved with Shoctoberfest?
Alex Greenwald: We were invited by the school and we never turn down shows. And also my favorite month is October and my favorite holiday is Halloween.
C: Why is your favorite holiday Halloween?
A: It’s the one holiday when you can either be yourself or be what you’ve always wanted to be. You don’t have to be good for Santa and Halloween’s just fun.

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3 March 2006: Interview with Exene Cervenka and Jason Edge

Posted by Christina on March 2, 2009

img_0340I got this ridiculous chance to interview one of my absolute idols, Exene Cervenka. When the interview started, I was a shakey, nervous and giggly fan girl but by the end I felt at ease with her, totally comfortable in the tiny room tattered with graffiti, stickers and probably a variety of bodily excretions. Every time I read this transcription I’m in a new world and it’s because she is such an amazing woman and was so generous to sit down and talk to someone like me. When I broke down and let the fan girl out, I took the silliest picture ever, with her at my side.

This was featured in one of the earlier issues of a student-run zine at UC Irvine called Forest Fire. Earlier content can be found on an ICS Major’s website domain at Forest Fire Magazine. It seems now they thrive off their Team Forest Fire Blog and they’re a bunch of talented kids writing about the world around them and worth checking out.

Forest Fire Magazine: Interview with Exene Cervenka

Interview – Exene Cervenka [X, The Knitters, The Original Sinners], Jason Edge [The Original Sinners]
Showcase Theatre, Corona
3 March 06

Christina: I understand you’re friends with Kristine McKenna?
Exene: Yes.
C: I interviewed her for one of my other classes. My project was to find a literary journalist and I found out about her because her book came out, Talk To Her, and I saw your name, actually, that she interviewed you and I thought, “Oh my gosh, who is this?” and I got in touch with her.
E: Well that’s good. She should be interviewed, she’s an amazing woman. Her books are great. She’s interviewed so many interesting people.

C: Tell me a little bit about your art. You had that art exhibition in Santa Monica last year?
E: Yeah and then I had another one in Miami and another one in New York. It’s collages that I make from things that I’ve found over the last thirty years, or so. Things that I get, find on the street, get in thrift stores or people send me. They’ve got all kinds of different images. It’s really a great art form because you can get really lost in it, while you’re doing it and you can juxtapose so many different things to make one message, which is really fun to do in art. So I’m loving that, that’s my favorite thing. If you make art.
C: So it’s kind of like found art?
E: Yeah, it’s kind of found, yeah. And you put things together. Just like if you have a picture of someone smiling and then you find a cartoon-type picture of someone making the exact same face, or something, and just overlap them and then it’s something else.
C: That’s awesome. That’s definitely cool because it’s things that are accessible.
E: Mhm. There’s beauty in the mundane.

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14 June 2005: An Afternoon with Kristine McKenna – Scene Chronicler and Interviewer the Great

Posted by Christina on March 1, 2009


An Afternoon with Kristine McKenna – Scene Chronicler and Interviewer the Great

Like Botticelli’s Venus on a half shell, X arrived fully formed and perfect. I had one good fortune to be around during their earliest days as a gigging band, and I never saw them give a bad show. They were on fire from the very start-and then they astonished us by getting better and better. Each new song was a fabulous unveiling, every show was a blazing event.

What made them so sensational? For starters, there was the visual component. It’s one of myriad cruelties of nature, but a rock ‘n’ roll band has to be thrilling to look at, and X was. Most bands are lucky to have one charismatic member, but X had four, and each of them brought something completely different to the mix.

– Kristine McKenna, liner notes from 2001’s re-release of Los Angeles

A regular Southern California afternoon in the depths of Santa Monica is nothing special to look at for your average city native, but anyone from even a few cities over is in for a real spectacle of the most delicious eye-candy ever witnessed. Not a dull street in sight and no corner busy with anything shy of a bustling crowd, Santa Monica, California has been the Mecca for patrons of the music and art scenes since before Los Angeles had made a name for itself. These people open up record stores and art galleries as businesses to cater to the growing demand of Los Angeles culture and in turn, those who are heavily involved with shaping that culture have taken great advantage of it all.

This is where the punk kids from the 1970’s came to thrive in their need for expression and the scene gave it to them. Small clubs like The Mask opened their doors to gigging bands and punk became the scene du jour. “Punk rock made that do-it-yourself thing acceptable, and you didn’t have to be a great player or singer to be in a band,” Exene Cervenka, leading vocalist of X had said in an interview with Kristine McKenna. “Punk valued substance over form, and that was a new thing. With punk, what you had to say was more important than having a polished voice.”

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